Speedway

Elvis in Speedway
Photo of Elvis Presley during the
filming of Speedway.

Elvis Presley’s pals Nancy Sinatra and Bill Bixby costar in Speedway, a musical comedy that features Elvis as stock-car champion Steve Grayson, a generous soul who is always sharing his winnings with people in need. Partly due to his generosity and partly because of his manager’s love of gambling, Steve finds himself owing the government back taxes.

Sinatra costars as IRS agent Susan Jacks, while Bixby plays his bumbling manager, Kenny Donford. Susan attempts to put Steve on a budget that will allow him to pay off the government in installments. Steve tries to soften the all-business agent with romance and music, but she thinks him frivolous and irresponsible. But her tune changes when she realizes that Steve’s latest charity case is a former stock-car driver with five daughters who has fallen on hard times. Eventually Susan is able to keep Steve on a budget, while Steve is able to keep Susan on his arm.

Behind the Scenes of Speedway

Nancy Sinatra’s friendship with Elvis dated back to 1960 when she met him at the airport upon his return from Germany to be discharged from the Army. Nancy presented him with some shirts as a gift from her famous father. Though the gesture fueled rumors of a romance between the two, chances are it was meant to promote Frank Sinatra’s upcoming TV special featuring Elvis, Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, and Nancy.

Elvis and Nancy did not work together again until 1967 when they began shooting Speedway. Elvis had married Priscilla Beaulieu a few weeks earlier, but rumors began to fly that he and Nancy were having a relationship. Fanzines had a field day with the rumors. "Will Nancy Sinatra Steal Elvis from Priscilla?" and "How Can Elvis Resist his Sexy Costar?" blared the headlines. Testament to their friendship is indicated by the inclusion of Nancy’s song, "Your Groovy Self" on the Speedway soundtrack, marking the only time a solo by another singer appeared on a regular Presley album.

Cast of Speedway
Character
Actor
Steve Grayson Elvis Presley
Susan JacksNancy Sinatra
Kenny Donford
Bill Bixby
R.W. Hepworth
Gale Gordon
Abel Esterlake
William Schallert
Ellie Esterlake
Victoria Meyerink
Paul Dado
Ross Hagen
Birdie Kebner
Carl Ballantine
Juan Medala
Poncie Ponce
The Cook
Harry Hickox
Miss Charlotte Speedway
Miss Beverly Hills (Mary Ann Ashman)
Debbie Esterlake
Michele Newman
Carrie Esterlake
Courtney Brown
Billie Esterlake
Dana Brown
Annie Esterlake
Patti Jean Keith
Janitor at the Coffee Shop
Burt Mustin
Guitarist
Charlie Hodge
Stock-Car Racers
Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Dick Hutcherson, Tiny Lund. G.C. Spencer, Roy Mayne


Songs Featured in Speedway

  • Speedway
  • Let Yourself Go
  • Your Time Hasn’t Come Yet, Baby
  • He’s Your Uncle, Not Your Dad
  • Who Are You? (Who Am I?)
  • There Ain’t Nothing Like a Song
  • Your Groovy Self (sung by Sinatra’s character)

Credits for Speedway

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
  • Produced by Douglas Laurence
  • Directed by Norman Taurog
  • Screenplay by Phillip Shuken
  • Photographed in Metrocolor and Panavision by Joseph Ruttenberg
  • Music by Jeff Alexander
  • Vocal accompaniment by The Jordanaires
  • Released June 12, 1968

To learn more about Elvis Presley, see: